A nationwide nurses' strike came to an end on Monday after the national nursing union reached an agreement with the Finance Ministry to solve the severe manpower shortage the healthcare system suffers from during the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the agreement, health authorities will hire 2,000 additional nurses and hundreds more doctors and security guards on a temporary basis.
A joint committee will convene by Thursday to determine whether any additional positions are required and how the plan is going to be implemented.
Moreover, the ministries of health and finance will prioritize issues regarding Israel's nursing services, such as budgets, protection of medical staff, incentives for nurses from southern Israel, and more.
Nurses kicked off the nationwide strike after last-ditch talks with the Finance Ministry over manpower shortages during the coronavirus pandemic had failed. Nurses said that it had made it impossible to continue their work.
The National Association of Nurses announced last Wednesday they intend to launch general strike if the government doesn't allocate more staff to hospitals, HMO clinics and other medical facilities.
As part of the strike, all non-urgent surgeries were postponed and outpatient clinics operated in an emergency format.
Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital, which serves Israel's largest metropolitan center, canceled 44 surgeries and an additional 23 medical procedures.
Israel's largest hospital, Sheba Medical Center, canceled 15 surgeries. Dozens of operations were also canceled in other hospitals across the country.
Although the strike affected mostly surgical wards, other departments reported difficulties as well and were forced to work on a weekend footing.
Coronavirus and oncology wards were not affected by the strike.
Coronavirus testing labs were not affected and neither was the epidemiological investigation apparatus of verified COVID-19 carriers.
The National Association of Nurses chair Ilana Cohen said during the last-ditch negotiations, the Finance Ministry offered to only temporarily boost the staff at medical facilities.
"They also suggested that next year any nurse who retires will be replaced right away," she said. "It's like using a band-aid and it's a shame. It shows that they have not internalized anything."